Martin O'Neill Pays Tribute To Leicester City Owner
30 October, 2018, 13:01 | Author: Mable Gonzales
"Devastated and heartbroken at the news that no one survived the helicopter crash yesterday", Leicester City's James Maddison tweeted.
He rose from obscurity as a printer and leather goods trader to become a polo-playing buddy of royalty and then the improbable hero of a city in England's Midlands.
The helicopter crashed in a ball of flames in the club's vehicle park on Saturday after a Premier League match.
It was under Vichai's ownership that Leicester crafted one of the biggest fairytales in English football history by winning the 2015/16 Premier League, having started the season as 5,000-1 outsiders for the title.
Five people, including the Thai billionaire, were found dead after the accident.
"I do what I love, so I put love into everything I do", Vichai said in 2016 as he was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Leicester.
"I think when Leicester won the title it became a worldwide known football club and that was all down to him and everybody who worked here". This was largely achieved through a close connection with Thailand's ruling class as he saw one contract after another come his way.
Wealthy men often come across negative labels, but Srivaddhanaprabha was a man who connected with the Leicester community and, in his own small ways, made it a better place since he purchased the club in 2010. After the match at the King Power Stadium manager, Claude Puel praised the defender for his attitude.
Tributes were also paid to the others on board.
It gifts King Power the captive market of the near 40 million people expected to visit the country this year, many of whom trawl through its duty-free stores at Thailand's global airports or downtown mega-malls in Bangkok and Pattaya.
His down-to-earth approach and ready smile helped win over the right allies at the right time.
According to Forbes magazine he is the fifth richest person in Thailand with an estimated net worth of $4.9 billion.
Don Roan said: "Sunrise at the King Power stadium".
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Former Socceroos and Leicester City goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer was also saddened by the news.
Although populist leader Thaksin was overthrown soon after by strongly royalist officers, it didn't stop Vichai's ascendancy.
In Thailand, officials at King Power said they could not yet comment on the crash or say whether Vichai had been aboard.
To commemorate the late King Bhumibol's 60 years on the throne in 2006, King Power sold 1 million yellow silicone wristbands imprinted with "We Love the King" and "Long Live the King", donating over US$3 million to the revered monarch.
Denmark global goalkeeper Schmeichel, who was reported to have witnessed the accident, thanked Ms Srivaddhanaprabha for making his football dreams come true in an emotional post on his Instagram account.
The self-made businessman Vichai founded Thai duty-free giant King Power in 1989.
In a rare 2014 interview to Thai magazine "Praew", Vichai gave a flicker of insight into the advice he is likely to have shared with his heirs.
He said: "It is impossible to overestimate the impact Leicester City have had on our city".
For all those long journeys the Spireites faithful have made over the past few years to see completely unacceptable performances, there has been little done by the club to show their appreciation for such ongoing loyalty.
British media said Aiyawatt had not been at Saturday's match.
Vichai's family, including his son and wife Aiyawatt and Aimon, arrived at the stadium on Monday to lay flowers among the mass of tributes already left by the club's supporters.
Town fans are not asking for a billionaire with millions to splash; they are asking for a club which they can be proud of again.
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